Most people today realize the importance of taking out some time every day for physical workout. Even out of most hectic schedules, people manage to allocate some time every day for yoga, walks, or the gym. People today have become aware of the need for exercising the body. Given our sedentary lifestyles, if we don't set aside some time for physical workout, we will have to pay a heavy price in the form of diseases like obesity, diabetes, etc.
That is all about maintaining our physical health, but what about our mental and spiritual health? All day long, we spend time in the worldly environment where the world pulls us in love and hatred, hankering, lamentation, tension, anxiety, and stress. We seldom realize that the worldly environment gradually takes a toll on us and impacts our wellbeing. We must do something to keep our mind in good health. This is akin to the physical workout we do to maintain our body.
Therefore, you must do something on a daily basis to shut the world out, so that you have just one focus and that is to purify the mind. Now, how will the mind be purified? After all, to purify the mind, we must fix it on an object of meditation that is pure. But the material realm is dominated by the three modes of nature - sattva, rajas and tamas (goodness, passion and ignorance) and is hence impure. Therefore, if the object of meditation is from the material realm, it cannot purify the mind.
We will have to go beyond the material realm, in the divine realm of God - His Names, Forms, Virtues, Abodes, Pastimes, and Saints. If we fix our mind anywhere in this area, it will become pure. This is what Shree Krishna instructed Arjun in the Bhagavad Gita:
"I am divine. If you fix your mind on me, it will rise above the three modes of Maya."
If you take out time every day to fill your mind with thoughts of devotion, surrender, and love to God, it can be called your personal practice of spiritual sadhana. Just like by exercising for 1 hr in a day you reap the benefits of good health all through the day, similarly by practicing spiritual sadhana for some time in a day, you will reap the benefits of a spiritual consciousness throughout the day.
Shree Krishna also says in the Bhagavad Gita that we must do sadhana in isolation. Understand this through an example. If you take milk and put it in water, milk and water become one. But if you wish the milk to remain separate from water, you can convert it into yogurt and then churn it to extract butter. Once milk becomes butter it can challenge the water, "I will sit on your head and float, you cannot mix into me, as I am no longer milk." Similarly, separate from the world - away from television, people, etc., you can convert your mind into butter and then challenge the water, "you cannot do anything to me."
While doing spiritual sadhana, the position or asan does not really matter, however it is advised to keep your back erect so that you don't feel lazy. Sit in any comfortable position and take your mind away from the world and attach it to God. The focus will come with practice, but what is important is that we make this sadhana a part of our daily routine. We all appreciate the importance of doing daily spiritual sadhana, but the biggest challenge lies in putting it into practice.
Can we in the year 2018 resolve firmly to dedicate some time every day for spiritual sadhana?